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Do Negative Comments on Yelp Help or Hurt?

The Yelp Issue: Do Negative Reviews Help or Hurt?

In an age of Internet anonymity and oversharing, review sites are both a help and a hindrance to businesses. On one hand, you can get so-called honest reviews of everything from a hiking trail to a nail salon, on the other you might be subjected to unfairly negative reviews, fabricated positive reviews, and everything in between. Yelp is facing yet another lawsuit, brought on by small businesses claiming that some of their positive reviews were removed from the site after they refused to purchase advertising on Yelp.

The last time I wrote about this issue, you had strong opinions. Personally, I'm inclined to think a few negative reviews of a business lend it credibility — I'd be extremely skeptical of an organization with 100% positive reviews. On the other hand, a bunch of negative reviews — especially for a small business — could do some serious damage. It also seems that people are more inclined to post a negative review than a positive one; case in point: AvoidItNYC, a New York City site existing solely to post negative reviews.

What do you think? Can negative comments help? Do you trust them?

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